Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is only a few days away from hitting theatres, but the reviews are already pouring in. The blockbuster Marvel sequel Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (in theatres Nov. 11) written and directed by Ryan Coogler once again focuses on the high-tech African nation – a central location in the expansive Marvel Cinematic Universe.
And yet things have changed now from what they were in 2018 when the original film became a pop-culture phenomenon and received an Oscar nomination for best picture: Chadwick Boseman, the actor, died of colon cancer two years ago. From new and familiar faces to someone else in the Black Panther suit, here’s everything you need to know about the highly anticipated sequel.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Everything we need to know
The sequel takes place after the events of Avengers: Endgame, returning to Wakanda after King T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) revealed to the world that his country was not the third-world country everyone thought it was. However, the sequel starts a year after T’Challa’s death, his mother Queen Ramonda (Angela Bassett) leads a Wakanda that enters its next chapter and must defend itself from other global powers.
The majority of the cast returns, including Letitia Wright as T’Challa’s brilliant sister Shuri, Winston Duke, and Lupita Nyong’o as Wakandan warriors M’Baku and Nakia, and Martin Freeman as CIA ally Everett Ross. And Danai Gurira’s Okoye commands the all-female Dora Milaje once more, this time with Florence Kasumba’s second-in-command Ayo (who appeared in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier series).
Tenoch Huerta Meja, a Mexican actor, plays Namor the Submariner. Namor rules the underwater kingdom of Talokan, a Mayan-inspired spin on Namor’s Atlantis from the comics, with pointy ears and ankle wings. It’s another advanced landscape that hide themselves from the rest of the world, though in the Wakanda Forever trailers, its people come to the surface to battle Wakanda.
Namora (Mabel Cadena), Namor’s cousin in the comics, and the fearsome Attuma (Alex Livinalli) are introduced to the MCU on the Talokan side, as is Michaela Coel as the Dora Milaje’s combat instructor, Aneka.
Riri Williams (Dominique Thorne), a young American inventor who’s designed her own advanced suit of armor like Iron Man, is one of the most important new personas in Wakanda Forever, especially in terms of Marvel’s future. She’s been cast as the lead in her own upcoming Disney+ series, Ironheart, which will be executive-produced by Ryan Coogler and will premiere next year.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is a much-needed film to conclude phase 4
With reviews pouring in, and mostly positive, Wakanda Forever is moving on the right track. With T’Challa’s funeral, in which Wakandans line the capital’s streets in white ceremonial raiment, is followed by a lower-key beach scene in which Shuri and Nakia (a grievously underutilized Lupita Nyong’o) discuss their kingdom’s future, and Boseman himself appears movingly in a flashback montage.
According to Youtuber Jeremy Jahns, who has seen the movie and given his early reviews on his Youtube channel stated,
“It was a very emotionally, heart-wrenching monologue and when this film has the characters give these emotional moments because of the passing of King T’Challa, it’s very clear or rather I should say it’s unclear as to whether or not you’re seeing the character grieve.”
With due respect, no one would argue that the wait was worthwhile, but this appears to be a badly needed Marvel film following Thor: Love and Thunder‘s underwhelming result. According to a fan, “I’m glad they aren’t emphasizing comedy. This movie more than any other recent MCU film feels like it genuinely needed to be serious.”
The Black Panther sequel boasts an incredible cast, which director Ryan Coogler truly lets shine in the absence of his star. Shuri is given some substantial material to deal with as she tries to find a middle ground between her dedication to technology and the Wakandan customs she regards as antiquated remnants of a pre-tech age.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is set to release in theatres on November 11, 2022.